You know not too long ago the New York Yankees just flat out refused to negotiate with a player that was currently under contract. That probably came back to bite them in the butt more than once because it meant there would be no extensions happening whether they were deserved or not. The team finally broke this unwritten rule with Brett Gardner a couple seasons ago which means, in theory, they will do it again for others which begs the question…. When will the New York Yankees look to extend Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez and how early is too early to even be having this discussion?
Many teams take these chances on locking up their young players early and like anything else sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The Cleveland Indians just did it with Jose Ramirez, the St. Louis Cardinals did it with Stephen Piscotty, the Texas Rangers did it with Rougned Odor, the Pittsburgh Pirates try to do it with every player they bring up including Starlin Marte and the Tampa Bay Rays made this mainstream by doing it with young players like Evan Longoria. The Yankees have yet to really jump on that bandwagon but they have two prime candidates finally that will make the team at least consider it in Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.
Sanchez used up his rookie season in 2016 while Bird enters his second season with the club after missing the 2016 season with a shoulder injury. Neither have really done much to warrant being locked up on a long term deal, especially for a team like the New York Yankees who have a literal ton of money coming off their books after this season. The Yankees can afford to take their time for at least the 2017 season if not the 2018 season with these two before making a decision on buying out their arbitration years and a few years of free agency if possible. Now for a player like Didi Gregorius on the other hand, a young player who is set to reach free agency after the 2019 season, has done enough for this discussion to be had within the Yankees front office.
So for now the Yankees need to wait before locking up Sanchez and Bird. If anything the team needs to keep the fact that the luxury tax is calculated by the average annual value of the contract and extending them now would be significant in terms of the team getting under that threshold or not. The argument against Didi getting extended could be made for that reason as well as the team would need to spend every day of a single season under the cap, the 2018 season seems to be the target year, to reset the tax penalties. The Yankees could always extend Didi and maybe even Sanchez and Bird during the 2019 season after they sign Manny Machado and Bryce Harper while bringing home yet another World Series Championship.
Hey, a man can dream can’t he?